The Ravens have released veteran running back Mark Ingram, a move that seemed increasingly likely as his role within the offense diminished late in the season.
Ingram, 31, just finished the second year of a three-year, $15 million deal he signed as a free agent in 2019. Cutting him will clear $5 million in salary cap space for 2021.
Ingram was a catalyst both on and off the field for the Ravens’ franchise-record 14-2 season in 2019, quickly establishing himself as a vocal leader in Baltimore after eight years with the New Orleans Saints.
He rushed for 1,018 yards — the third 1,000-yard season of his career — in his first season with the Ravens last year and tied the franchise single-season record with 15 touchdowns (10 rushing, 5 receiving) as the Ravens secured the No. 1 seeding in the AFC for the first time in franchise history.
Led by quarterback Lamar Jackson (1,206 yards, a record for a quarterback) and Ingram, the Ravens piled up 3,296 rushing yards last year, the most in NFL history in a single season.
Ingram touted Jackson’s Most Valuable Player candidacy seemingly whenever he had a microphone, and he helped coin the “Big Truss” mantra that became something of a team slogan in 2019. Ingram joined Jackson on the Pro Bowl team, the third such honor the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner.
But Ingram’s role steadily diminished this past season, as rookie J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards established themselves as the top two backs. Justice Hill played a big role on special teams, often leaving Ingram as the odd man out.
Ingram was a game day inactive in four of the last five games this season, including both postseason contests.
Ingram also missed one game while on the reserve/COVID-19 list this year, and he finished the season with 72 carries for 299 yards, both career-lows, in 11 games.
The Ravens finished 11-5 to earn a wild-card berth but were eliminated by the Buffalo Bills, 17-3, in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Speculation about Ingram’s future began almost immediately after the Ravens selected the dynamic Dobbins in the second round of the draft this past spring, but Ingram never publicly aired any grievances about the team selecting his heir apparent. In fact, Dobbins has frequently praised Ingram for his approach and mentorship through his rookie season.
The Ravens again had the No. 1 rushing offense in the league, totaling 3,071 yards. Jackson was the team’s leading rusher for the second straight year with 1,005 yards — becoming the first quarterback in league history with two 1,000-yard seasons — followed by Dobbins, who rushed 134 times for 805 yards and nine touchdowns, a franchise rookie record. Edwards finished with 144 carries for 723 yards.
In an Instagram post that hinted at his imminent release, Ingram thanked Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and the Ravens “for being a first class organization and welcoming my family and I to the city. I love all the real ones in flock nation that supported me unconditionally and showed love to the boy these last 2 years.”
Ingram later added, “I’m looking forward to my next opportunity because the best is still ahead. Watch how God write this story. BIG TRUSS FOREVER!!”
Here are some reactions from his teammates:
QB Lamar Jackson:
LB Patrick Queen:
LG Bradley Bozeman:
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox